Myanmar: Storm halts search for plane crash survivors

33 bodies pulled so far from Andaman Sea after Wednesday crash of military plane carrying soldiers and families

Myanmar: Storm halts search for plane crash survivors

World Bulletin / News Desk

Search and rescue operations for survivors of a military cargo plane that crashed off Myanmar’s southern coast were temporarily halted on Saturday due to an approaching storm in the Andaman Sea near the crash site.

“Navy ships and military aircraft will resume search and rescue operations once the weather clears and improves,” said military chief Sen. Gen Min Aung Hlaing in a statement.

Before the pause, on the fourth day of operations, rescue workers pulled a dead body from the sea on Saturday, said the country’s Office of Commander-in-Chief.

A total of 33 bodies have been pulled so far from the Andaman Sea, about 550 kilometers (342 miles) south of the country’s biggest city Yangon, as some 20 local fishing boats joined the operations since the first day despite persistent stormy weather, the military said.

The bodies included 21 women and eight children.

Gen. Aung Ye Win told reporters that military is determined to continue the search, but admitted chances of finding survivors are fading due to bad weather.

A Chinese-made Y8-200F cargo plane carrying 122 soldiers and their family members, including 15 children, and crew members went missing on Wednesday evening during a flight from the southern town of Myeik to Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon.

Authorities later confirmed that the plane crashed into the sea after bodies and debris from the missing plane were found.

The military, working with officials from the Chinese aircraft manufacturer, has begun investigating the accident, the army chief said Thursday, but its cause remains unclear.

The plane, in service since March 2016, has clocked 809 flying hours, according to the website of the army-run Myawaddy newspaper.

According to a local media report, Myanmar has had 17 aircraft accidents since 1998, most of them involving small passenger aircraft.

Eight military personnel were killed in two separate training aircraft accidents last year.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Haziran 2017, 14:00